Police form partnerships to provide ‘alternatives to life of crime’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Dr David Muhammad, director of the Black Agenda Project Organization and acting Commissioner of Police (CoP) Mc Donald Jacob –

The acting Commissioner of Police (CoP) has named several policing initiatives targeting young people and aiming to provide positive alternatives to a life of crime.

A statement on Thursday said Mc Donald Jacob identified the initiatives on Monday when he met in person with Emancipation Support Committee (ESCTT) board members as well as Dr David Muhammad, director of the Black Agenda Project Organization, at the Police Administration Building.

Jacob named the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Hearts and Minds initiative, over 100 active police youth clubs, a mediation programme to address conflict management within communities, partnering with various NGOs, including Vision on Mission, and the soon-to-be-launched Project Grace.

Jacob assured that no groups are “hunted” by the Police Service.

Instead, he said the police are addressing the issue of gang violence by protecting the young and vulnerable from falling into the hands or clutches of gang leaders through a series of social and community initiatives.

He said the initiatives are part of the tools used to alleviate crime and the fear of crime. Positive collaboration with like-minded stakeholders can change the trajectory of young lives and deter youths from gang activities, he said.

The statement said Muhammad, who is also the Eastern Caribbean representative of the Nation of Islam, a religious movement, said he considered Jacob’s sentiments encouraging.

“He went on to describe his experiences listening to young men and hearing of their plight. He was hopeful that changes would come from this meaningful collaboration as he identified areas where more can be done, including relationship building which can result in significant changes,” the statement added.

EFCTT director Khafra Kambon and member Dr Asha Kambon joined the meeting virtually.

Khafra Kambon identified some of the committee’s initiatives and hoped there would be positive changes once there is collaboration among all the interest groups.

Dr Asha Kambon expressed her gratitude for the meeting as she identified where police could benefit in areas of training such as cultural sensitivity, community-outreach programmes, and community education.

ACP Sharon Cooper, Supt Karen Lancaster Ellis, acting Snr Supt Oswain Subero, Sgt Garth Jones IATF, and head of the police’s corporate communications unit Joanne Archie also attended the meeting.